For Giro, It’s A Matter Of Life And Death

Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Miami pairs death with a “life-affirming” message in its inaugural print campaign for bike helmet maker Giro Sport Design.
Before Crispin Porter & Bogusky won the Giro (pronounced Jeer-oh) account last fall, the Santa Cruz, Calif., client’s advertising tended to be product-focused, with “very little image or human emotion,” said Jeff Steinhour, vice president and director of account service for the agency.
Although CP&B wanted to play up Giro’s protective features, “We don’t want to beat people over the head with a safety message,” Steinhour said. In addition, visually striking art direction would help convey Giro’s stylish helmet designs.
The resulting four ads feature photographs of Giro-sponsored athletes who are well-known in the world of cycling. Each headline begins with the phrase “I want to die,” followed by imaginative old-age “fantasy deaths” gleaned from agency interviews with each cyclist.
For example, cross-country mountain biker Ruthie Matthes wishes to meet her maker “smiling at the age of 126 in three feet of snow at the foot of a very steep hill after winning a bet with my great, great grandson over which one of us could slide to the bottom faster on an old piece of cardboard.”
In another execution, downhill racer J†rgen Beneke envisions his demise during “a daytime talk show brawl that erupts after some 87-year-old punk in the audience calls me ‘Gramps’ and tries to say that I’m too old to still be making a living in professional motocross.”
Two more ads follow the same concept. Body copy in each focuses on the specific features of Giro’s various helmet models: Torero, Exodus, Boreas and Switchblade.
The tagline: “Live fast. Die old.”
The advertising effort targets men and women ages 18-40. Although Giro has a following of hard-core cyclists, the campaign aims to gain awareness among entry-level riders, said Steinhour.
The ads began running in March issues of cycling and mountain bike magazines, as well as Outside, Backpacker, Men’s Journal and Condƒ Naste Sports for Women.
Production credits go to creative director Alex Bogusky, art director David Swartz, copywriter Tim Roper and photographer Bruce DeBoer.
Steinhour said CP&B is currently helping Giro develop marketing strategies for entering the ski and snowboard helmet market next fall. According to Steinhour, the client has signed 1998 Winter Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street to endorse its ski helmets.